September 18th, 2007
09:45 AM ET
13 years ago

Student Tasered, arrested at John Kerry speech

Watch the commotion following a student's question to Sen. Kerry Monday.

WASHINGTON (CNN) - A University of Florida student was Tasered and arrested by University police at a John Kerry speech following a heated question on the 2004 election results.

Full story

Filed under: John Kerry
soundoff (99 Responses)
  1. Nads, Atlanta GA

    His behavior warranted removal, not tasering. Four *trained* security officers cannot remove a 21-year-old college student from a campus building without electrocuting him? Sad.
    Also, Rodney King was beaten during Bush I's administration, not that that matters.

    September 18, 2007 01:35 pm at 1:35 pm |
  2. George, TX

    I find it interesting that the real issue here is not whether the kid was opposing the Democrats and supporting the Republicans, but did the police respond in an inappropriate manner. Who cares what the kid's political views are. Both party's in this video were wrong. The kid should have stopped when he was asked and not gotten beligerent. But the police were wrong for using, my opinion here, excessive force. There are better ways to handle that situation than to taser him. Let's quit bashing the Democrats and Republicans and deal with the real issue.

    September 18, 2007 01:36 pm at 1:36 pm |
  3. bukky, Baltimore, MD

    There is a Kid in Jena Mississippi facing 22 yrs in jail because assualt and battery when the kid he assualted brought a gun to school and threatened him with it get a 3 day suspension from school.

    THAT ladies and gentlemen is an OUTRAGE, not some kid that will make a killing in civil suits against the police. This is important enough to get placed on the ticker. But when the AG of Mississippi say "I hold this kids life in the palm of my hands and can do whatever I want"... That is not outrageuous enough to make the ticker

    September 18, 2007 01:41 pm at 1:41 pm |
  4. Mark R. Fort Lauderdale FL

    You blinked, and George Orwell's 1984 came true. College students are now being tasered in this country for speaking out, or for running over time limits. The police state is already here. Will we be a strong enough nation to beat it back?

    September 18, 2007 01:41 pm at 1:41 pm |
  5. S. Wright

    This smacks of the same kinds of stunts that happened on college campuses in the 60's and 70's, and I am not surprised at all that Kerry is a part of the story.

    I'm waiting for some fool here to call a cop a "pig".

    So, college is a place for free speech and an open exchange of ideas? Tell that to any celebrated conservative speaker who gets attacked by rabid leftists who would rather throw their food than eat it at these speakers.

    Useful idiots, indeed.

    September 18, 2007 01:45 pm at 1:45 pm |
  6. Mark, Sacramento CA

    I bet some of you nut jobs would like to have tasered the high school student who questioned John McCain too.

    I'd bet if this kid had been tasered while chanting pro-Bush and pro-war slogans you would all be crying foul and "Papa Bear" O'Reily would spew some garbage about the Left suppressing our 1st Amendment rights.

    And you people have the audacity to question the "civility" of my generation. For God's sake take a look at yourselves!

    September 18, 2007 01:47 pm at 1:47 pm |
  7. Kirsten, Fredericksburg, VA

    Isa, the problem is not that he was trying to get a question answered, but in the manner he was doing it in. No one, NO ONE, has the right to resist arrest no matter waht the means are.
    The guy was a psycho and seeing as how the video cuts out from the time he was actually arrested and the time he was tasered you have no idea what went on during that time. Resistance against arrest IS a criminal act no matter what you may say. The student should've been aware as soon as the mike was cut that he should stop speaking. Most people realize that as soon as your mike is cut that means you should stop speaking and protest later. Not in the middle of the conference. The guy should be justly punished for what he did. Also, how do we know that the guy didn't have some sort of weapon on him? You can't see any part of him, only the cops. You have no idea what they saw compared to what you saw.

    Furthermore to everyone, don't try blaming the Republican party for the bunch of psychos that crash your events. That is not only ludicrous but is also very demeaning to your own party.

    September 18, 2007 01:50 pm at 1:50 pm |
  8. James Haselden, Atlanta, GA

    Seriously!! He tried to ask a question in an open forum and he got his mic cut, arrested and tasered, that is not what this country is founded on. One of the bedrock principles of this nation is the open dialogue between the elected officials and those that they govern. Sen. Kerry did not seem bothered by this man's question, why was he removed and treated with such unnecessary force? The University of Florida has a lot of questions to answer and hopefully will be sanctioned monetarily. I can't wait to hear their official statement. It's behavior like this that caused us to revolt against England. It's BS and everyone knows it.

    September 18, 2007 01:50 pm at 1:50 pm |
  9. Loretta Biddle

    If the statue of liberty could cry, there would be tears of shame pouring from her eyes over this one. I could not believe what I was seeing. Someone should let bully police officers know that cameras are rolling everywhere, and WE'RE NOT GOING TO TAKE IT ANY MORE!!!!

    September 18, 2007 01:53 pm at 1:53 pm |
  10. B. Watson, Toronto, Canada

    AMERICA – Land of the Free?

    The fact that America cannot preserve even the most basic of constitutional freedoms(i.e the right to freedom of expression) within its own borders, significantly marginalizes the credibility of it pursuits in spreading democracy to other regions of the planet.

    Time to take a good look in the mirror, and get one's own house in order.

    I am not naive enough to believe that this is incident is representative of the norm, but nor is it an isolated case either. The overt and blatant disregard for this individuals personal and constituional freedoms is so incredibly sad and disgust me beyond belief.

    September 18, 2007 01:58 pm at 1:58 pm |
  11. David, Dallas Tx

    First, to those who think the questioner was attacking Kerry, familiarize yourself with the Greg Palast book he referenced. He wasn't attacking Kerry.

    Second, as a liberal, I must say it's nuts to think Republicans are responsible for the taser incident.

    Lastly, the questioner was disorderly and needed to be removed; civil liberties don't authorize you to monopolize or disrupt organized gatherings. But at four-to-one odds with a non-aggressive (if struggling) perpetrator, tasering was unquestionably a case of excessive force. I hope he sues, wins, and gets a few thousand for his few seconds of pain.

    Cops carry guns for self-defense in lethal situations, and tasers for self-defense in non-lethal situations. The cops weren't in danger from this guy. He wasn't doing Bruce Lee kung-fu chops at them, he was pleading with them NOT to taser him.

    September 18, 2007 02:03 pm at 2:03 pm |
  12. Daniel Peterson, Edison, New Jersey

    This was a scene that you would expect to see in the former Soviet Union or China. The student's civil rights were clearly violated and he was definnately beat up by an uncalled for number of security officers.

    John Kerry should have pleaded to cease the attack on the student. As he did not, he was condoning the clearly unlawful actions.

    September 18, 2007 02:05 pm at 2:05 pm |
  13. John, Columbus Ohio

    The tasered student was infringing on the rights of others to participate in a peaceful forum. The police were right to remove him and when the student resisted, they were right to taser him. It’s not the Republicans fault, its not George Bush’s fault just as the Rodney King beating was not Bill Clinton’s fault. Its time to stop pointing fingers at the opposite political party. Its time to grow up and take responsibility. Something the tasered student needs to do as well.

    September 18, 2007 02:06 pm at 2:06 pm |
  14. Felicia, Centerville Ohio

    I don't even no what to say about this incident. I find it disturbing and saddening.

    I also find it absolutely disgusting that people, like Ann Curry on the Today Show, tried to defend this abuse of power by saying that the kid was obnoxious and vying for attention. Also, every news show I have watched today has made sure to point out that the kid has an extremist political website and (gasp) tried to ruin the Harry Potter books! Well then, maybe he deserved what happened, right?

    Even if he was obnoxious and loud, which he was, I never realized that being obnoxious was grounds for being dragged away by police officers. I never realized that being obnoxious was grounds for being tasered. It was excessive. And it was chilling to me that people just stood there and watched it happen in basically dead silence.

    September 18, 2007 02:12 pm at 2:12 pm |
  15. Chris

    I wish I could Josieaini?? However, the whole world is now under control. The Middle East is the last frontier for global control. The only thing left is total destruction and rebuilding of Gods kingdom.

    You are wrong about Muslims by the way. You only understand them as you are fed by the news. Yes they have gone astray from their faith as many of us Christians, but nevertheless are Godly people. You'll see soon.

    Only Jesus can save you Josia. Sorry, I can't remember your name. Be well friend.

    September 18, 2007 03:01 pm at 3:01 pm |
  16. sgt m, jacksonville nc

    once again we see why the is no freedom of speach. i watched this video and even though the young man was extremely sarcastic it goes to show that young americans are just not allowed to speak their mind. john kerry has serious issues concerning his past and his future and although no motion was shown i am sure it was sent by either kerry or his minions. i am proud sgt in the USMC and i am ashamed that kerry was ever even a service member.

    September 18, 2007 03:06 pm at 3:06 pm |
  17. Jim, Orlando, Florida

    Whether the young man was "a jerk" or not, he has a birth-right and aduty as a U.S. citizen to question his leaders.As a former Force Recon Marine I am disgusted that what has been defended at such a cost could be abased in such a manner. If Kerrt's handlers felt he couldn't handle a heckler; he shouldn't have been allowed in this type of forum. The fact that this occurred in Florida is no surprise to me. Any-one know wher the United State of America is? I would like to go home.

    September 18, 2007 03:26 pm at 3:26 pm |
  18. Bettie Darus

    I am appalled at the shameless way this story has been portrayed by CNN and other media!! How can JUSTICE prevail when you are already influencing the tased young mans' side as injusticely handled. I want the truth as I'm sure most Americans do. But when you cast shadows of doubt on the officers without having all of the facts, YOU ARE WRONG!
    Please give US fair facts and let the State Attorney do the investigation. These officers, too, have family that can and are being hurt by this kind of "spin" move.
    You are creating controversy and casting suspicion on people who may be innocent of any wrongdoing. This is NOT fair and inpartial news.
    I am so disappointed in how callously you seem to be willing to throw people to the wolves. It seems as though you are trying to boost your ratings. That is a very sad day for JUSTICE.
    I could not find a blog for the general news department and I know how you are very good at "Keeping Them Honest."

    September 18, 2007 03:26 pm at 3:26 pm |
  19. Ryan, New York, NY

    Why is anyone surprised by this? They taser 6 year-olds in Florida, so in no way am I shocked that this kid was.

    For everyone saying "I hope this opens people's eyes," do any of you remember the USC student that was tasered last fall? Didn't think so...

    September 18, 2007 03:35 pm at 3:35 pm |
  20. Patrick, Bartlesville Oklahoma

    Sorry if you resist arrest you get tasered that's how it works.

    September 18, 2007 03:44 pm at 3:44 pm |
  21. Stephen Harris, Temple Texas

    Watching this makes me sick to my stomach. We need more accountability among our increasingly aggressive and overzealous police. Education would help too! Police should have to have a college degree!

    September 18, 2007 03:58 pm at 3:58 pm |
  22. Jess, Evansville, IN

    What happened to the Constitution of the United States of America??? The government has been overstepping their bounds for a long time now, and it's starting to become painfully obvious. This man was asking a question. He had every right to ask his questions. He should have never been treated like a criminal for seeking knowledge. This is a sad day for America. The really sad part is that most people will ignore this news story while they watch their reality tv shows and further stupify themselves into submission. 9/11 was an inside job. It's all part of the political agenda.

    September 18, 2007 04:00 pm at 4:00 pm |
  23. Chip Celina OH

    Indeed, Rodney King was on Bush Sr's watch. I stand corrected. I guess as I age, I should put less trust in my memory.

    Bush I, Bush II, Rodney King, tazer incident. There you have it Connect the dots.

    Nads, Atlanta. Thak you for pointing my mistake out.

    Have a great evening,

    September 18, 2007 04:22 pm at 4:22 pm |
  24. Chip Celina OH

    Thak you????? What the ....?

    Not only is my memory fading, I can't type!

    What next?

    Do you See Alice?

    September 18, 2007 04:24 pm at 4:24 pm |
  25. Bob, Oakland, CA

    When the cops outnumber the problematic person 4-1 the taser should not even be an option. Only possible expection being if the guy is 300 lbs and ripped which was not the case here.

    But hey what do you expect from a bunch of glorified security guards on a college campus. They are probably underpaid and didn't want to get hurt so using the taser seemed like a good idea.

    September 18, 2007 04:34 pm at 4:34 pm |
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